Colnaghi Foundation Journal 04 - Page 128



126
Pedro Orrente and the Nine Worthies
Pedro Orrente and the Nine Worthies
Fig. 12 / Pedro Orrente, King
Arthur, oil on canvas, approx.
155 x 111 cm, Valencia, parish
church of San Nicolás Obispo y
San Pedro Mártir.
Fig. 13 / Workshop of Orrente,
King Arthur, oil on canvas, 153
x 116 cm, Alginet (Valencia),
Private Collection.
The trio of Christian figures that concludes the series
of the Nine Worthies begins with the legendary figure
of King Arthur, who can perhaps be identified with a
Roman-British military leader who defended Britain from
the Saxon invasions in the sixth century. The principal
elements of his representation are largely derived from
Geoffrey de Monmouth’s texts in the Historia Regum
Britanniae. A painting by Orrente of King Arthur survives in
the church of San Nicolás Obispo and San Pedro Mártir
in Valencia (fig. 12). As expected, this bears an inscription
identifying this military hero: ARTVRO. R. ANGL.
Dressed in armour and a cloak, holding his sword
in his right hand, Arthur is shown bearing a shield
with an image of the Virgin and Child. On his
head, he wears a plumed helmet crowned with a
winged dragon. A copy of this composition by the
studio of Orrente is now in a private Valencian
collection, also is inscribed with the hero’s nam:
ARTVRO (fig. 13). The only minor difference in
this version is that the Virgin and Child on the
shield represent the iconographic type known as
the Virgen de Belén (Our Lady of Bethlehem).
127

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